Contributor Spotlight: Lucas Jacob

The poems “Threat,” “Ban,” and “Winning” by Lucas Jacob appeared in Issue 18 and can found here.

We’d love to hear a little more about “Threat.”

“Threat” was drafted in February or March of 2017—a time period during which it became more clear with each passing day that Donald Trump planned to use a sort of politics-of-negation as his primary approach to anything that didn’t fit with his world view, and to anyone whom he perceived to be in his way. To use his parlance of July 2018: “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Coincidentally, it was also the time during which the first bulb-shoots of the season were poking through the not-quite-frozen Indiana mud. It occurred to me that Mr. Trump would negate/deny the very processes of flower growth, should the need arise.

What was the most difficult part of this poem?

Not over-writing it into a rant, based purely in my rage, rather than in language. That (ranting masquerading as writing) happened to some pieces I tried to draft that dealt with Mr. Trump, and the irony was obvious: my whole goal was to interrogate the ways in which this man and his administration used language, and my sort of “shouting back” was not going to interrogate as much as to imitate. In the end, I had to keep my Trump mimicry to the opening two words (“Everyone agrees”), and my Trumpian philosophy to the curt “Danger lies only in hesitation. To be sure/ is to be true,” and then allow the crocuses to take over.

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

One? Wow…apologies to the countless books I’ve loved in the past ten years that I don’t happen to mention in this moment on this particular day. I’ll go with Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, from 2015, since I carried it around with me pretty much everywhere I went for a year or so!

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

Thanks to events like Poetry at Round Top, I’ve had the privilege of having a drink with many of my favorite poets, and hope to continue to do so, so I’ll reach into the realm of nonfiction/journalism and say Ta-Nehisi Coates. Why? We Americans struggle mightily with the legacy of the original sin of slavery, and his writing and thinking on race in the 21st century is important.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

With my first full-length collection slated to come out in 2019 (boundless gratitude to Eyewear Publishing), I’m working on the poems and structure of a second. I think I’m about 2/3 of the way there, but I may of course be deluding myself. So, the main goal is to work on the new poems as poems per se, and to see what happens. And I’ve begun a Y/A novel centered on a young girl and her lab-rescue rat, so there’s always that….

Our thanks to Jacob for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read Jacob’s poems “Threat,” “Ban” and “Winning” here:


Lucas Jacob’s poetry and prose have appeared in journals including Southwest Review, Barrow Street, Western Humanities Review, and Birmingham Poetry Review. His first chapbook, A Hole in the Light, was published by Anchor & Plume Press in 2015. He studied English and African-American Studies at Carleton College, and then did his Master’s in writing and literature at Temple University. He is now a high-school teacher and K-12 writing-instruction consultant based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jacob’s first full-length collection is slated to be published by Eyewear Publishing in 2019.